Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bangui archbishop retires amid reports many of his priests are not celibate

Catholic News Service
May 26, 20009

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the resignation of a 54-year-old archbishop from the Central African Republic following an investigation into priests of his diocese who live more or less openly with women and the children they have fathered.

The Vatican announced May 26 that Archbishop Paulin Pomodimo (photo), 54, of Bangui had resigned under the terms of Canon 401.2 of the Code of Canon Law, which states that "a diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office."

Passionist Father Ciro Benedettini, vice director of the Vatican press office, said Archbishop Pomodimo resigned because of "insurmountable difficulties in running the diocese."

The news agency Africa News had reported May 25 that Archbishop Pomodimo and several priests in his archdiocese would be sanctioned "for adopting a moral attitude which is not always in conformity with their commitments to follow Christ in chastity, poverty and obedience."

The agency said Guinean Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, had visited the Central African Republic and "concluded that many local priests have official homes, children and have accumulated private properties."

Archbishop Sarah told Catholic News Service May 26 that he had traveled to the Bangui Archdiocese, but could not comment further.

Africa News also reported that priests from nine of the country's dioceses met May 22-24 in Bangui expressing their opposition to the removal of the archbishop and accusing the Vatican of being "discriminatory, partial and selective in the assessment of the situation since white priests and bishops are also guilty of the same practices."

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